Duchess of Cambridge joins England training session as RFU’s new figurehead

The duchess met players from England men’s and women’s squads at Twickenham.

Pa Sport Staff
Wednesday 02 February 2022 11:58 GMT
The Duchess of Cambridge has taken over as patron of the RFU and RFL (Yui Mok/PA)
The Duchess of Cambridge has taken over as patron of the RFU and RFL (Yui Mok/PA)

The Duchess of Cambridge has joined an England training session in her new role as patron of the Rugby Football Union.

Kate headed to Twickenham on Wednesday to meet players from the men’s and women’s squads as they prepare for the Six Nations championships.

The duchess, known for her love of sport and her competitive nature, is taking to the pitch with the players for a special skills session run by head England head coach Eddie Jones.

Kate has taken over the Duke of Sussex’s former roles as patron of both the RFU and the Rugby Football League after being given them by The Queen.

She is the first member of the royal family to officially receive one of the Sussexes’ past royal patronages, which they were stripped of post-Megxit.

Kate, who used to watch rugby with her family growing up, shared her joy at the appointments in a personal message on Twitter.

It was accompanied by a new video of the duchess, dressed in workout gear, showing off her skills, as she throws, catches and smiles as she spins a rugby ball on her finger, and virtually passes to a host of players.

The Duchess of Cambridge joined in an England training session at Twickenham (Yui Mok/PA)

The duchess wrote: “I am so thrilled to become patron of the @TheRFL and @EnglandRugby.

“Two fantastic organisations who are committed to harnessing the power that sport can have in bringing communities together and helping individuals flourish.

“I look forward to working with them across all levels of the games, and to cheering England on in what promises to be an exciting year for both sports!”

England’s first Six Nations game at Twickenham is against Wales on February 26, following away games against Scotland and Italy.

Kate’s new affiliation with England Rugby puts her in direct competition with husband the Duke of Cambridge, who is the Welsh Rugby Union’s patron.

It has long been reported that the duchess, seen as a safe pair of hands by The Queen, would be filling the gap left by Prince Harry when he was stripped of the roles in February last year as part of the 12-month review of the Sussexes’ decision to step down as senior working royals and move to the United States.

The duke, a passionate rugby fan who celebrated with England when they won the rugby union World Cup in 2003, had acted as RFU patron since 2016 and patron of RFL since 2017, taking over the roles from his grandmother.

Kate was lifted up in a line-out during the training session (Yui Mok/PA)

Kate, 40, is known for her love of sport and is already royal patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon, the Lawn Tennis Association, SportsAid and the 1851 Trust.

The RFU and RFL both welcomed the honour of Kate’s appointment.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “We know the support of the duchess will be greatly valued from our grassroots clubs and fast-growing women and girls’ game, right up to our elite men’s and women’s England teams.”

Chief executive of the RFL Ralph Rimmer said: “We look forward to working with the duchess in the years to come and I know all levels of our sport will welcome her to the rugby league family.”

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